What’s inspiring about exhaustion?

How is it possible that I’m burnt out on the holidays and they haven’t yet begun? Please God, and anyone else who’s tuned into Diva Mama radio, isn’t there a better way to celebrate ancient pagan rituals, the journey of syphilis-carrying Pilgrims, and yes, even the birth of baby Jesus, than by promoting rampant, unbridled capitalism?  No?  Then listen up.

Less than a week before Thanksgiving I know that Black Friday isn’t simply a day of mind-numbing sales at big-box retailers who are sucking the soul and sanity from our lives, it’s the color of the above referenced souls after we’ve drunk the Kool-Aid and gotten up at 3:00 am for the sake of saving twenty bucks on an off-brand Serbian made LCD TV that looks like it was designed in 1967 and will be nothing more than a door stop by the time Dick Clark wishes us, in that hard to understand slurry speech of his, a merry 2012.

As I sink into the madness that Colonel Kurtz must have felt in that oft quoted knee slapper Heart of Darkness, I know without any qualification that we are being driven to merchandise madness by overtly desperate retailers, and for those of us, like me, who are already struggling with shoe string budgets I want to run to my window, open it and scream so everyone can hear me… “I’’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Or maybe I would chant slowly and without regret… “and if you keep ringing that damn bell I’m going to bring a bigger bell, or maybe even one of those air-horns from a college football game, and I’m going to blow it in your face every time you ring that silly little bell of yours!”

As you can see it won’t take much to push me over the edge, or maybe I’m already there.  The holidays are supposed to be inspiring yet for many of us, they are simply exhausting.

Maybe it’s because not even a month ago Halloween was a disaster due to that October blizzard that cancelled school, with many of us without power for close to a week.  For Pete’s sake, I still have Halloween decorations on my dinning room window.  So, how’s a gal supposed to feel about hot-swapping Pumpkin Pete for Tommy the Turkey?  Right about now, not so much.

I’m still recovering from being stuck with bored children who had no access to their Wiis, X-Box 360‘s, PS3s and iPods.  You’d have thought the world had come to an end.  Even with books, magazines, board games and visits to malls and movie theaters life a few weeks ago looked very different.

In some ways I LIKED it better.  It evoked a much quieter, simpler time when families spent time together, rising and sleeping with the natural cycles of the sun and moon.  Yeah, I’m talking real Little House on the Prairie stuff.  And I have to admit, when the power came back I was more than a little disappointed, because inevitably, the game consoles and TV sets took over once more.

But now that we’re back in the saddle, marching inexorably through Thanksgiving to Christmas and beyond, I’ve come to the sad realization that hearing Christmas carols from the end of October through New Year’s sucks.  The second the airplay starts, my holiday inspiration staggers.

Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoy the croonings of perennial holiday favorites like Josh Grobin, Mel Torme and Celine Dion, but by the time the second or third week of December rolls around, the only thing I want to do to Santa Baby, is bash his head in.

Really, like always, it comes down to feeling good and joyful and at peace and how can anyone feel these things when unseasonably early holiday nudging is creating more pressure in my life.

If I don’t get out there and start buying everything my little angels see on Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Disney – what will life look like?  Will I do irreparable social harm to my children who will not be as cool as their classmates who all seem to end up with the latest video games or top-rated best in class toys.

As you’ve seen,  I find all this exhausting because it just isn’t REAL.  We all know ‘getting’ isn’t what the holidays are supposed to be about.  It isn’t what our children will remember when they grow up and so I have to ask – what’s a mom to do?

In my next blog I’ll go over some tips and takeaways that can help all of us survive the holidays with more peace, balance and joyful intention than maybe we’ve been able to access, but until then, go do something good for yourself.

Whether you head to your local Starbucks for the 2pm-5pm two for one drink special (and drink them both), bundle up in a favorite sweater and take a long walk while the leaves still hang lazily on the trees, or pour yourself a tall Shiraz and swallow it in one giant gulp remember, the choice is yours and yours alone how you wish to flow with the Black Friday crowd.

And if there’s is even a doubt, why not turn off the TV, ignore the inserts in your local paper, and at least for a day, refuse to influenced by the little one’s who’s desperate, urgent pleading for Lego Atlantis and American Girl underpants are just a moment in time, and will be gone before we know it.

Until then… drink up.

6 Responses to What’s inspiring about exhaustion?
  1. Maia Lagerstedt
    November 21, 2011 | 5:30 pm

    Thanks for this, Shira! I, myself, am dreaming of a simpler holiday season–and in the interest of doing so, I’ve invoked a media brown-out with limited commercial interruption. I have always loved the holiday season, but it seems to me that this year’s uncharacteristically early snowfall was taken as permission to let loose with those incessant, mind-numbing ads that much earlier. Those 8 days without power inspired me to read more, watch TV less; sing more, listen to the radio less; give more of my Self to my loved ones and less of my cash to greedy retailers.

    You are an inspiration!

    • Diva-Mama
      November 21, 2011 | 6:05 pm

      Amen! You GO girl! Now if I can just get the kids to understand this mentality it might put a jolly ol’ dose of ho-hos back into the holidays!

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